Blood Red Shoes

Live @ Bristol Anson Rooms
April 2, 2007
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

"NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, BOY!" is the piercing cry from Blood Red Shoes' enthralling 45, A.D.H.D. - which by now, will have unquestionably lodged itself firmly in the hearts and minds of many a music fan!

This blazing track, also exhibits several of the motifs that you will find in the duo's other raw and biting songs, which were once branded as "beautiful as they are brutal." From their sense of urgency, to the crashing, distorted guitar riffs and incessant drums combination. To the call-and-response vocals (sung in their own accents) of Laura-Mary Carter (guitar) and Steven Ansell (drums). To lyrics laced with themes such as restlessness and boredom, and interestingly, which are sung by the band member who actually wrote them - resulting in a recurrent abstract mash-up of thoughts and ideas.

And for two people, they make one hell of a noise… just witness one of their furious and jaw-dropping live performances for further evidence!

Taking their name from an incident involving Ginger Rogers, whereby the legendary American actress had to redo a tap-dance scene for a film so many times, and danced so hard, that her white shoes literally turned red with her own blood - the Brighton-based band are understandably one of 2007's hotly-tipped new acts!

Having previously played in other groups who eventually broke up - Lady Muck (Laura-Mary) and Cat On Form (Steven) - the two friends got together in late 2004 for a jam, as Laura-Mary also wanted to retrieve a hat that Steven had stolen from her in London! With an instant chemistry between the pair, and with the minimal line-up enabling a much-desired musical freedom. They quickly began playing live, toured non-stop and issued 4 very limited edition 7" singles between 2005 and 2006 - Victory For The Magpie / Don't Always Say Yes (Jonson Family Records), Stitch Me Back + A.D.H.D. (Try Harder Records), and You Bring Me Down (Abeano Music).

Described by the band as "Disco Grunge," Blood Red Shoes' music ticks all the right boxes, not least their own desire for it "to make people dance," and has rightfully gained them a great deal of respect from their peers, including the likes of Maxïmo Park, Metric, Panic! At The Disco, The Rumble Strips and The Young Knives. Not to mention plaudits from influential Radio 1 DJs, Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq!

As an extremely impressed fan myself, I had the good fortune of meeting Laura-Mary and Steven prior to their gig at Bristol University, with the very beautiful and softly-spoken Laura-Mary (who was about to join a Circus School before Blood Red Shoes happened), kindly taking on today's interview after firstly making me a lovely cup of coffee!

The duo's easy-going nature, appreciation of their supporters, DIY punk ethic and obvious talent + hunger for what they do, is both exemplary and commendable, and they "aren't in this for fame and fortune - they're in this because they just always wanted to be in a band!" Steven has also added, "We're obsessed with blood, gore, knives, death and dancing (they once considered Flesh Eating Mothers as a name), and we're two kids making mostly fast and loud music to lose yourself in. We value energy, passion and honesty over any other elements to music."

With minimum fuss and maximum impact, Blood Red Shoes' songs are a youthful, exciting and joyous celebration of what it is to love about music, and to be in a band making music that you love! Or to put it another way, these are direct songs which capture the very essence of rock 'n' roll, and what rock 'n' roll was always intended for!

So be prepared to fall under their spell very soon, as this is a band that you will want to have in your life…

1. For people who have an affinity with music and who really understand it, not only can it be a sanctuary for them, but also a way of life! Have you yourself, always felt so passionately about music?
"Yeah, and I don't think there's really anything else that either of us were probably going to do with our lives. I remember being at Primary School, and the first kind of music that I really got into, was Elastica. All of my friends were kind of buying R. Kelly and stuff, and I got an Elastica tape and everyone was taking the piss out of me for it. But, there was just something about them. I mean they're not one of my favourite bands now, but I do still really like them. So from that moment onwards, I've just been completely obsessed with music really (laughing)!"
*Laura-Mary once ran her own Fanzine*
"And like I said, I guess I always knew that I would end up doing something in music, because it was the only thing that ever really interested me. Everything else just seemed a bit boring (laughing)."

2. Some of Blood Red Shoes' influences include Blur, Huggy Bear, Nirvana, The Slits, Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But if you were to compile and burn a Mix CD for me, including one of your own songs, what would you put on there?
"Um (thinking), I would put on there… Babes In Toyland, probably Laugh My Head Off - because it's like my favourite song (smiling)! Guns 'N Roses (laughing), You Could Be Mine. I'd probably put PJ Harvey on there as well, but I don't know which song, because I don't know any of the titles (laughing)! Um (thinking), there's so much to choose from (pausing), if I was to put one of our songs on there, I would pick our new single, It's Getting Boring By The Sea, because it's quite new and not many people have heard it yet."

3. What posters did you have on your bedroom walls as you were growing up?
"Well, I wasn't really allowed any posters up on my bedroom walls (laughing), but in my cupboard door, I had a Jared Leto poster (laughing), because I liked him - he was in My So-Called Life and he's in the band, 30 Seconds To Mars, now. I had a Nirvana poster and Courtney Love pictures (pausing), actually, I had a Hole poster - I just remembered (laughing)!"

4. I've read that when composing your songs, how this is "spontaneous and you improvise until you find something that you like - that there's a variation of lyrical themes and musical ideas, and you don't tend to sit on straightforward structures or ways to play your instruments." But do you think that you write in reaction to other bands and current musical trends / stay true to yourselves?

"Yeah, and I think we never really planned to sound like anyone else. We just kind of jam and it comes out! We have lots of inspirations, but I don't think we're going with any trends - like if we play with an Indie band, we're always the heavier band, but if we play with a heavy band, we're always the quieter band! So, I don't think we fit in anywhere really, and in that respect, it does feel like we're doing something a bit different (smiling)."
*Steven also plays in the band Projections*

5. What has been the best thing that someone has said about Blood Red Shoes?
"There was a recent live review in the NME, which was quite funny - we'd played an NME Awards Show - and basically, it was about how loud we are!"
*Part of the article reads, "Stitch Me Back sounds like someone's thrown a drumkit, 50 mallets, and a naked and shaved bassist into a high security ward for psychopathic cannibals, and recorded the result."*
"I really liked it, but there's been quite a few actually!"
*Blood Red Shoes' Sound Engineer, Finian, who's sitting with us adds, "It was a really off-the-wall analogy - it was very NME! Actually, I've told Steve this, but not you (looking at Laura-Mary), but when my band played in Norwich, the whole reason that the venue started putting on gigs, was so that one day, their promotions company would be big enough to book Blood Red Shoes. That's why they started to do it! So that's like a goal which somebody else is trying to reach, because you've inspired them!"*
"Wow, that's cool (smiling)!"

6. If you were granted one wish, what would you use it for?
"I would use it to make Steve's family OK."

7. Do you believe that rock 'n' roll is at its most interesting, when it incorporates other musical genres and pushes boundaries?
"Not really, I think rock 'n' roll on its own can be pretty interesting. It's not at its most interesting, but it can be! I mean any type of musical genre can be interesting, it just depends how you do it! But, I think rock 'n' roll in itself, can push boundaries without having to go into other genres. Yeah (laughing)!"

8. Speaking of musical innovation, Primal Scream were deservedly crowned as this year's NME Godlike Genius, but who for you, would also be worthy of such an accolade
"Um (thinking), I would like someone like the Pixies to receive it, or Babes In Toyland… even though nobody really knows them (laughing). They're my favourite band (smiling)!"

9. Do you think the Internet has taken away some of the mystery surrounding musicians?

"Yeah, maybe it has, but I don't think it's a bad thing, because it's created something else, in that people now feel like they know the bands and they can be involved with them. Like you can speak to musicians on a personal level (pausing), it's removed that, "I'm An Untouchable Rock Star" mentality. And, I think it's good for people to know that we're just normal (laughing). It's nice to think that fans can speak to bands, and that they can be in a band themselves you know? So, I think the Internet has taken away some of the mystery, but all for the good (smiling)!"

10. To date, you have released 4 very limited edition 7" singles - but how did it feel to hold and play your very first pressed vinyl?
"Very good (smiling) - it was, it was great! For me, it was just like the coolest thing ever (laughing), especially because the vinyl is red and black! Like I didn't know, Steve kept it as a secret, so I was really chuffed with it! I still am, everytime I see it, the first one (smiling)! I'm like, "Ahhhhh" (laughing)!"
*I tell Laura-Mary that I've brought all of the band's 7" singles along with me today, including Victory For The Magpie / Don't Always Say Yes, to be signed*
"Wow, you have the first vinyl!?! There are only 300 of them and they're going for like £60 now! You got in there at just the right time (laughing)."

11. I know that you design all of Blood Red Shoes' record sleeves - is art something that you've always been interested in?
"Well I went to Art School - that's kind of what I was doing before the band."
*I ask Laura-Mary if the sleeves are typical of her style*
"Yeah, that's kind of my style I think (pausing), I don't know really? It always ends up as an object, more than a person or a scene or something (laughing), it's usually just like an image and that's what we're going to carry on… so it kind of has a theme to it now (smiling)! I like Horror Movies and I'm into Jack The Ripper stories and stuff, so that's where the gore, blood and knives come from (laughing)!"
*In another recent online interview, Laura-Mary revealed… "I've been reading books about Jack The Ripper ever since I can remember, and I think I know pretty much every analysis there is to know about him. I'm from South London, but when I was 16, I moved to East London purely because I wanted to be nearer the crime scenes. I always wanted to work in this pub called The Ten Bells, which is apparently where he used to drink. I never got a job there though, not many people leave that job."*

12. There seems to be a real community amongst musicians these days - do you think this is a healthy way of nurturing new talent?
"Yeah, there is a community, and it's weird, because everyone does know everyone (smiling)! Like we're friends with bands through various reasons, and they're friends with them, and they're friends with them etc. etc. So it is like a community in a way. But it's good, it's nice!"

13. You're all for your fans as well?
"Yeah, definitely! We like to get fans up on stage, chat and just meet new people! MySpace ( has been a good thing for us as well, because it's great to get your music out there, and people can go on the site and listen to our songs, and a lot of people have heard us through that. Like people living in America, and when we played in France and Germany, people knew all of the words and I was like, "How do you know all of the words?" And they were like, "Oh, its MySpace." So wherever people are in the World, they can hear you now, whereas before the Internet, you just had to tour everywhere. But, I do think it's still good to tour, even though it's possible for a band to have a # 1 Hit Single without even having to play a gig anymore (laughing)! Which is a bit weird."

14. Do you have any hobbies outside of the band?

"Well, it's all music-orientated really, like I enjoy going to gigs! Um (thinking), I like playing Basketball (laughing), and I collect Antiques, like Chinaware, so when I have any free time I go looking for pieces (laughing)."

15. Is there anybody that you would love to have a drink with?

"Courtney Love (without any hesitation), just to see what she's like (smiling)! I really, really want to get her diaries (Dirty Blonde: The Diaries Of Courtney Love), but I haven't had the chance to yet, because I haven't had any money recently."
*I tell Laura-Mary that I have the book, and that not only is it very interesting, but that it's beautifully presented, in a similar vein to the artwork for Live Through This*
"Wow, I'm definitely going to get it!"

16. Your live shows, are both cherished and celebrated for their uncompromising nature, but what type of experience do you hope that you give to your audience?
"Um (long pause + thinking), a good one… that's a really rubbish answer (laughing). Sorry."
*Finian laughs hysterically*
"No (laughing), we like people to get really involved and get up on stage, but when there's barriers, it's really difficult - we don't like that. God, this is hard (laughing). Um (thinking), if we give our audience a feeling of involvement and participation, and they leave having been immersed in the show, then that would be really great!"

17. What have been some of your favourite gigs that you've attended as a fan over the years?
"Sonic Youth at Shepherds Bush Empire is one of my favourites! Babes In Toyland at the Mean Fiddler, which was the LA2 then. What else (thinking)? Guns 'N Roses at Slane Castle (Use Your Illusion World Tour 1992) when I was a kid. And Cat On Form actually, at the Concorde!"

18. What's your opinion on limited edition Concert Live CDs (, whereby fans can purchase an official live recording of the gig they've just been to, immediately after it has finished?
"I wasn't aware of those? It's really brave from an artists' point of view (pausing), I don't know, I'm not sure? I suppose it's a good thing to remember the gig by - you've got it there - and if it was a really good show, then you'll have the memory of it forever and you can always listen back to it, which would be nice. But, I hadn't heard of them until you mentioned it."

19. How do you find life on the road / touring?
"I didn't enjoy it for a while, but I've got used to it now and I do think it's quite fun. You get to meet lots of new people and when you're playing every night, if a show goes a bit bad you think, "Well, that's alright because we're playing again tomorrow." Getting to meet other bands is a good experience, and playing so many gigs is pretty cool, because it's what we're here to do (laughing)!"

20. Do you have any pre-stage rituals?
"I don't, but Steve eats a banana (laughing)."

21. What is the one thing that you couldn't live without?

"Coffee probably (laughing)."

22. Do you have any special memories of places you've visited, bands you've met, or standout gigs so far?

"When we played in Norwich for the first time, at the Arts Centre, it was great - it was just such an amazing gig! Because everyone went really mad and we'd never even been there before. We met a really nice lady called Annie, who we stayed with last night actually, because we played in Norwich yesterday. That's one, and also in France, we played in Bordeaux, which is a really special place! It was brilliant, it was just a really good gig and everyone was really nice (pausing), actually, the whole time in France was really good! I definitely think they would be my favourite couple of gigs ever (smiling)!"

23. What has been your most rock 'n' roll moment to date?
"My most rock 'n' roll moment to date (giggling)? There's a few, but Steve once peed in another band's drinks (reportedly Robots In Disguise), as they weren't very nice to us and others at our Garage show in London. There's another one, but I can't say it (laughing)… well, I don't know? I've been chucking the guitar around a lot recently, and it's pretty bad, because it's not actually my guitar, it's Steve's. But, I threw it at his head the other day (laughing). So yeah, that was quite rock 'n' roll (laughing)!"

24. As an unsigned band, I know that you've been patiently waiting for the right time and the right label, before signing a record deal - has this happened yet?
"We will be signing it in 3 days, for V2 (smiling)! It's been quite a big decision to make, but we chose them, because it was a really good deal and the people are really nice, and they've got a good idea of how we work, and what we want, and who we are! I think with a lot of labels, it's not really about that, they don't really care about what you want. And, we weren't so keen on a major label, as I just don't think it would suit us."
*I say congratulations on securing the deal, and wish Blood Red Shoes great success for the future*
"Thank You (smiling)!"

25. Can you tell us what we can expect from your debut album, and what your biggest hopes are for Blood Red Shoes long-term?
"Well, we haven't decided on a producer yet, but we're thinking about who we'd like to work with, and the album should be out at the end of September - that's the plan. At the moment, we're in the process of writing songs and we'll probably be recording it just after May, or in June sometime. So it's happening quite fast (laughing), even though everyone's like, "When's the album out, when's the album out?" We're going to write new songs and stuff, but some of the songs from our 7"s will also be on there. As far as what I'd like to achieve long-term, one of my main goals is to sell lots of albums, not because of the money, but just because I like the idea of loads of people having it! Playing in lots of different countries. Steve wants to meet Dave Grohl and I want to meet Courtney Love. We want to headline somewhere really cool, I don't know where, but somewhere (laughing). So, just to keep going, keep playing, put a good album out and see what happens really!"

26. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Cream buns I think (smiling)."

A very special thanks to Laura-Mary, Steven and to Carl @ Coalition, for all of their time and help.

Bury your head, bare your heart
But I can't, I can't, I can't
Nothing can stop this creeping fear
I'm leaving